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What It’s Really Like to Live in the Bay Area

By: Kirthana Iyer

You know how the first couple months of college, you continually introduce yourself to new people and they ask you, “Where are you from?” Well, every time I say, “Oh, I’m from California,” The almost automatic response is “OMG, do you, like, go to the beach all the time?”

Well, do I have news for you.


I guess you could say California is split up into multiple parts. Here’s a fun map for reference. And I’m from that lil bubble called NorCal or Northern California. Which is incredibly different from SoCal, the part you hear about in almost every movie.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

So basically this article is gonna disprove all those stereotypical things you hear about California! Stay tuned for savageness!

1. We do not all have Palm Trees.

Alright, I’m not quite sure how this got into everyone’s head. But yes, weather conditions are VERY different between NorCal and SoCal. In SoCal, you got the sunshine all day every day, and in NorCal, we heart clouds. Yes, that means NO PALM TREES. We do have some crazy redwoods though….

2. Spoiler Alert: Not everyone in California is a vegan!

Surprise, surprise!! There are people in California that live for the vegan culture which is so amazing and to be honest, good for you. BUT there are also many many people who LOVE meat, and honestly, I think there are fewer vegans in the Bay just because there aren’t many options, which is a totally different issue. ANYWAYS In-N-Out, am I right??? So stop asking Californians if they are all about that vegan life. No. We. Are. All. Not.

3. It’s Boba, Not Bubble Tea.

I know East Coasters say it differently but uhm….it is most definitely BOBA. This is just an overall California thing. Do not try to convince a Californian that it is not boba. It really just won’t work out for you. Don’t say “Hey, you like…wanna get some bubble tea?” Save yourself the pain.

4. Honey, it’s not always “bikini weather”

Yeah… the Bay is near a bay and as a result, IT IS NOT BIKINI WEATHER. You can totally rock the Bay Area with a cute sweater, some booties, and an amazing pair of jeans.


If you honestly believe that it is possible for every single Californian to live near the beach…you are sorely mistaken. California has around 39 MILLION people…show me your work if you think it’s possible for all of us to live near the beach. I’m just curious. Anyways, it is possible for us in the Bay to maybe go to SF, but even then it’s a little bit of a hike on BART, am I right? (P.S. for those of you who don’t know what BART is, it’s like the T for the Bay Area)

6. “Do you live near Disneyland?” UHHH…I WISH

Another common misconception which I wish were true. From the Bay, the happiest place on Earth is about an 8-hour drive, depending on traffic. Sad reacts only.

7. “Hella” is in our dictionary :)

I promise, Bay people are very educated…but we love the word “hella.” It can be used to describe anything. “How much work do you have?” “Hella” “How are you feeling?” “I’m hella tired” Yeah…”hella” is a Bay thing and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

8. In-N-Out  = Happiness

So for us non-vegans in California, we love In-N-Out. So. Much. Literally, almost all my friends who left the state for college missed it so much that the first day they got back, they went and got it.

9. “Have you survived an earthquake?” WE SLEEP THROUGH THEM

Okay, so the part of the Bay that I’m from is near the San Andreas fault, which means we have an earthquake every once in a while. It’s definitely reached the point where we all are unphased by earthquakes. Like once, I didn’t even know there was an earthquake until I checked Twitter…it’s life, we don’t survive them, they feel like nothing.

10. “Depending on traffic” is the most common phrase used in the Bay.

I can say without a doubt, that traffic is horrific in the Bay. So whenever you want to meet up somewhere with friends, you always know that they are bound to be a couple minutes late because traffic is traffic. It’s a culture…a Bay culture. 

So yes, here are some things about my home and the Bay! California is not all sunshine and beaches, but it’s all very fun. I will say that SoCal is fun, don’t get me wrong, but NorCal is where it’s at (sorry, SoCal people) If you ever have the chance to go to the Bay, please do! There are so many fun things to do, but don’t get the impression it’s like the movies! This is a different part of California :) But it’s still just as fun. Maybe even more….


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Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.
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